Televisions

Hands On with Dish's Virtual Joey App

Your bedroom TV doesn't need another set-top box—if you're a Dish subscriber and an LG TV owner.

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Dish's announcement of a "Virtual Joey" was a logical upgrade to its Hopper platform. Use your Dish service, complete with DVR library and recording functionality, in another room without another physical unit. Simple, right? It is, so long as you have a 2012 or 2013 LG Smart TV.

We scored some hands-on time with this feature at the CES Unveiled show on Sunday, and the implementation is quite seamless. A Dish rep loaded up LG Smart TV—the electronics company's smart TV platform—and selected the new Dish app. The interface instantly changed to the familiar Hopper layout.

Standout features from the Hopper like PrimeTime AnyTime, the DVR library, and the TV guide are all present on the new app. Controlling this interface is just as easy as it is with a physical Hopper or Joey, too. Users of this feature can have Dish send them an additional remote, free of charge. But virtual or physical, the Joey isn't totally free: Using this service costs an additional $7 per month on top of standard Dish service fees. If you don't want another Dish remote, LG's motion-controlled Magic Remote can navigate the Virtual Joey's interface, too.

While Dish's new app isn't as revolutionary as the original Hopper was, it's a huge convenience for consumers who subscribe to Dish's service and have a secondary TV. Expect this app on 2012 and newer LG Smart TVs later this spring.